Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sherlock Holmes: The Final Problem

The US audience has long identified Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes. He made an indelible impression that has lasted sixty plus years. In the mid-eighties, I heard about Jeremy Brett's portrayal of Holmes, and critics were saying that Brett had made the role his own, becoming the definitive version of the master sleuth. At that time, my family was renting a VCR along with two VHS tapes for $20 at the local video shop, and selections were scarce, so it was difficult to get my hands on copies of the Brett movies. It was almost ten years later (about a year before his death) when I finally was able to watch these films.

I’m posting here one of my favorite stories, The Final Problem, starring Brett as Holmes and David Burke as Dr. Watson.

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

I know... the part where Holmes and Moriarty are struggling on top of Reichenbach Falls looks stagey but the fall itself gets me everytime.

The producer intended to film all sixty stories, but Brett had only filmed forty-one before his unfortunate passing. These movies are without a doubt the most faithful rendering of Doyle’s original yarns.

According to Wikipedia, Doyle ranked The Adventure of the Final Problem fourth on his personal list of the twelve best Holmes stories.


Charles Gramlich said...

I read a lot of Sherlock Holmes as a teenager but I never did get as involved with mysteries as with other genres. As for movie versions etc, I think I saw "the Hound of the Baskervilles" and that's pretty much it. Not much I can add to your discussion.

David Cranmer said...

Rathbone in The Hound of the Baskervilles is excellent but Jeremy Brett became the part. It's almost like who's better as 007: Daniel Craig or Sean Connery. I'd hate to live on the difference. As for Holmes, Robert Downey is next up and he may eclipse both Rathbone and Brett.

RReynolds said...

It gets overlooked quite a bit but The Hammer Film's 1959 The Hound Of The Baskervilles with Peter Cushing as Holmes and Christopher Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville is a fine film. Cushing was the first actor to play the character true to form as written by Doyle.

David Cranmer said...

I have never seen the Cushing version but after a quick stop by Wikipedia and IMDb I'm going to have to check it out. They say it was "it was Cushing's performance as the master sleuth that paved the way for Jeremy Brett to later become the Holmes of his generation."

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi David,

I've read and re-read Holmes for years. This movie is terrific. I am in the middle of part three and put it on pause to come back and say thanks.


David Cranmer said...

Terrie, I'm glad your enjoying it and coincidently I just printed out your story along with the rest of the Hardluck Stories final issue.

Georgie B said...

Always like the Jeremy Brett version of Sherlock Holmes because I felt he portrayed the written version better than Rathbone every could.

David Cranmer said...

Georgie B, I couldn't agree more. I'm looking forward to Downey but Brett is going to be tough to beat. He personfied the character to perfection.